Re: Virus: Mental Blind Spots. Was Re: virus: Re:[Fwd: Re: memes at the meme site]

Mon, 08 Sep 1997 10:03:00 -0700

If you buy into Kuhnian Paradigm shifts, then I don't have to convince
you that our current scientific models are not the result of hundreds
of years of steady accumulation and refinement; that scientific
revolutions replace old models with new ones which are either
incompatible or incomenserable with the models of the previous
paradigm. Ken is quite right to doubt that the most recent paradigm
shift was the final shift that brought all of our models into perfect
alignment with the underlying reality.

Only in periods of what Kuhn calls "normal science" does the activity of
the scientific community work to refine existing models. Durring
periods of revolutionary science the old models get totally replaced.
Not refined; not fine-tuned; they get scrapped, replaced. Maybe we have
seen the last scientific revolution, but who really believes that?
Unless you believe that all scientific revolutions are behind us, then
you have no reason to think that our current sceintific models won't go
the way of phlogisten and atoms qua indivisible constituents of matter.

I could kick myself for getting dragged into this.


Ken McE wrote:
> >KMO wrote:.
> >> I expect that several of the regular participants will be happy
> >>to defend the position that the scientific model is a useful one but
> >>that it has its limitations and blind spots.
> David R. Wrote:
> >What limitations and blind spots exist in the scientific model? If there
> >were any such limitations and blind spots, they could be taken into account
> >as part of the model.
> Ken McE Writes:
> The Scientific Model is IMO the best model of reality available at this
> time. However this does not mean that it is perfect. I would consider
> it an odd coincidence if *I* happened to be born just at the exact
> moment when our understanding of reality became total and perfect. I do
> think we are filling in blind spots and expanding limits as we go, and
> do not know what limits this process may have.
> Just as human eyesight shows only a slice of what is, so do our models
> , including science, show only a slice of what is. Things that are much
> larger, smaller, faster, or slower, than us exist, but are hard to
> notice and understand.
> If I spend time with a child or animal I will usually observe that they
> are intelligent and alert. However despite years of education, and
> millennia of neural design, testing, and improvement, I can often see
> limits in their ability to reason, observe and understand.
> If I consider that *I* am the final and last word in intelligence and
> reason, and that civilization has nothing important left to find, then I
> could assume that I do in fact know it all.
> If I consider that I am just an evolutionary way station, a stop on the
> road from Homo Erectus to Homo Superior, then it does seem reasonable
> that just as I can show a child the truth more clearly, so could a
> superior being show me scientific theory more clearly.
> As time goes by I would hope that the scientific model will continue to
> improve, just as it has always done. I am not however, willing to
> simply assume that it is all done yet.